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Stranger Replants Trees After Vandals Destroy Memorial To I-540 Crash Victims

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RALEIGH, N.C. — In a site off of I-540, four families lost four teenagers who died in a car crash.

After the accident, the families planted four trees and crosses by the side of the highway to memorialize the victims --18-year-old Bryan Reeves and 17-year-olds Jamie Brewer, Mike Smith and Matthew Yurcak.

But last month, the trees and crosses were cut down with chain saws, presumably by a group of vandals.

Ed Reeves, Bryan's father, said the act cut him right through the heart.

"It was really upsetting," Reeves said. "It brought back a lot of memories; it was almost like the same night of the accident again."

Someone else shared his pain and decided to do something about it.

"One day we were driving. We saw four trees were planted with little bows, and it was a private citizen who did it and we were touched by the fact that the person would do that," Reeves said.

Reeves said the tree planted for his son represents the person it memorializes; it is full of life, he said.

"It's growing, and it is a living thing," Reeves said. "Bryan's spirit lives on."

And, he said, the gesture by a stranger is an act of kindness the families will be forever grateful for.

"It really meant a lot to us," Reeves said.


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